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tv   The Cycle  MSNBC  December 18, 2012 12:00pm-12:43pm PST

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psychiatric disability. they have not found any sort of medicine but they're using search warrants to try and determine whether he was at any point receiving any sort of medicine, taking any sort of medication for that and that's the latest on the investigation and what's happening right now here in newtown, as well. >> okay. craig melvin, thank you. let's bring in harvard professor, david hemmingway who says we should treat mental health as a crisis. >>. you wrote the gun control debate often makes it look like there are only two options. take away people's guns or not. this is more like a harm-reduction strategy. recognize that there are a lot of guns out there and that reasonable gun policies can minimize the harm that comes from them. what do you mean by that and how exactly would it work? >> so, our big effort is to try to do prevention and prevent
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before the event happens. and so, what that means, the analogy we use is motor vehicles where you weighted in the old days to say here's an accident. it must be somebody did something wrong and mostly they did. and really wasn't until we began looking at the cars, make the car safer, make the road safer, the environment safer, let's make the ems system better that what we're trying to do is create a system hard to behave inappropriately and you do nothing bad happens so what we found in motor vehicles is that 50 years later, drivers are no better but we have been able to reduce fatalities per mile driven by over 90% so there's lots of things which that the manufacturers can do, the dealers can do, the government can do in terms of policy but also things which individuals can do and which gun owners can do. >> i think that's a really good start. you know, any time the gun control argument comes up, it's
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important i think that we look at some results of studies and some of the facts and the stats throughout and i'll just go through a few of them. gun ownership increases, gun crime decreases. latest study out of virginia finding from 2006 to 2011, gun purchases increased 73% in gun-related crime decreased 24%. fbi studies stated that the right to carry states have 30% lower homicide rates. doj study of convicted felons found 40% were deterred because they knew the victim was armed. how do we interpret the facts going forward and have that debate on gun control? >> yeah. well, most of the studies really show the opposite which is where there's more guns there's more death and not just looking at a one state. surveys of criminals is that over half of them say one of the reasons they carry a gun is because they believe they their victim might be armed an enso we
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don't have to more guns. what the evidence really shows and what is illustrated from the case, horrific case, a gun in the home makes it much more likely a woman in the home will die of a homicide and happened here. much more likely of a suicide and what this was, really, a suicide. and it also makes much more likely that a gun from the home probably stolen will be used in the community in the criminal way. so, the evidence if you look at the united states, we have by far the most guns, the most permissive gun control laws compared to any other developed country and we are dying like crazy. 5 to 14-year-olds are compared to the other 5 to 14-year-olds in the rest of the developed world are 13 times more likely to be murdered with a gun. there's no really difference in nongun murders. they're eight times more likely to commit suicide with a gun. they're ten times more likely to unintentionally kill themselves
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with a gun. they have a huge gun problem and not solved by arming more people. >> david, i take your point. i think the concern i would sort of raise is if you look at the policy prescriptions on the table or that we have talked about putting on the table whether in direct response to connecticut or more in general about gun control, we are talking about assault weapons ban, the gun show loophole, these sorts of things. the experience we had in this country for ten years under the assault weapons ban from 1994 to 2004, there was i would say at best inconclusive evidence of whether it did anything. we have a counter example, though, of australia which maybe doesn't get much attention but fascinating because australia had an assaults weapon ban in response to a mass shooting and investing like $500 million in gun buyback to get like hundreds of thousands of assault weapons out of circulation. something that we did not do in this country. we left millions of assault weapons out there, millions of high-capacity magazines
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throughout and that number proliferated since 2004 and seems to me the policy prescription that might have an effect goes way beyond anything that's really in public discussion right now. >> well, that's exactly right. what happened in australia was that they had had something like 13 gun massacres in the 18 years before the ban and 14 years since they have had zero gun massacres and tightened up licensing and registration. the firearms homicide rate fell over 40% in the 2-year period to buy up the guns. and their firearm suicide rate fell about the same amount but what i would say in terms of political policy, the one thing to make the most difference in the united states is not taking away anybody's guns but a universal background check. i can't understand why a conservative leader can't stand up and say enough is enough, why are we letting criminals buy
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firearms without any background check? and i would like to see any legislator go to a second grade classroom and explain to second graders why they allow criminals to buy a gun without a background check but i think there's many, many more things that have nothing to do with policy. there, again, are things which i would like to see president obama do and one of the things is to make sure we get the data and make sure we highlight the data. right now, the federal government makes it hard to get really good data. we have a national violence death reporting system in 18 states. we really don't know what percent of households have guns. gallop poll says it's going up, 50%. out of chicago say it's going down, 33%. we have a good survey out of the federal government, behavioral risk factor survey. we added gun questions in 2004 and so we knew in 2004 how many guns were in each state and now stopped having that question.
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we can add that question. i want to see president obama do things like have a national commission about guns. i want to see hearings about guns and the surgeon general write about guns and suicide. now i think the evidence is overwhelming that a gun in the household will prevent suicide. i want to see other people do things, the foundations in this world. we have over 65,000 foundations, large foundations and only 2 or 3 of them provide any money at all looking at -- one one thing i think criminals acquiring guns illegally which is part of the problem and to that point you talk about guns as an infectious disease in america. we have 300 million guns in america. almost one per citizen. is the disease too far in to the body to really do something?
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we have senator feinstein talking about banning assault weapons and can't talk about retroactively banning. we can only talk about going forward. are there too many guns for america to be able to go back? >> i don't really think so at all. we can make a big dent. i can talk about where i'm from which is massachusetts and we have sensible gun control laws and it's very hard for criminals in massachusetts to get guns from massachusetts and so what they have to do is somebody brings guns in to them from new hampshire and vermont and then south carolina up the iron pipeline. we would do very well in massachusetts if we had a one gun per month law nationally to make it so it's not profitable to bring guns in to the inner city gangs. i think there's lots of things to do. and i just want to mention one thing which gun owners can do. we are trying to push this notion of the 11th commandment of gun safety and what that would say is similar to friends
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don't let friends drive drunk. we know that when people are going through a bad patch, the last thing they want -- should have available to them is a firearm because firearms really are a risk factor for dying in a suicide. if you're a good friend and somebody's -- wife left them, whatever it is, take it upon yourself to say, you know, get the gun away from the house for a few months until things settle down and you are feeling better. if they had friends of this poor woman now dead, her son was clearly going through a bad patch and if they had said let's get the guns out of the house for a few months while things are bad and maybe will get better, then have the guns back, we might not have had the suicide and the horrific shooting. >> professor, to that point, you know, it strikes me that overall we have seen a decline in gun ownership. we have also seen a decline in the rate of overall violence crime. meanwhile, since 2007 in particular, we have had a spike
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in mass shootings so do these two problems, you know, overall violent crime and the specific problem of mass shootings like the horrific one we just experien experienced, do they require two different sets of policy proposals? >> i don't think so. one of the big things is making guns easily available to criminals and to people who have clearly mental health problems is a huge, huge problem and there's lots of -- you know, small policies that we can do to make a difference in both areas and we should attack both areas at the same time. it is interesting that the same day that the mass shooting occurred in the united states, a similar attack occurred in china. no one killed because the prep traitor could only find a knife to attack with. >> okay. professor david hemmingway, thank you for joining. later, good news. one of msnbc's own safe and
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sound after a difficult ordeal in syria. plus, there are fiscal cliff developments to tell you about. first, our special coverage of the sandy hook tragedy continues. next, the second big conversation out of this. our culture of violence. ♪ the weather outside is frightful ♪ ♪ but the fire is so delightful ♪ nothing melts away the cold like a hot, delicious bowl of chicken noodle soup from campbell's. ♪ let it snow, let it snow we create easy to use, powerful trading tools for all. look at these streaming charts! they're totally customizable and they let you visualize what might happen next. that's genius!
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the second issue we're talking about today in the special edition of "the cycle" is culture of violence. have we become completely desensitized to the violence around us? you might not even notice it anymore. >> it's all up in you! it's deeper and the -- oh! explosive-ier. >> oh! >> oh! >> what are you guys doing? >> tickle fights stop fight. >> when did video games become so violent and scary? >> you see the images on tv all the time. from video games to movies, tv shows, music, even when we as parents try to shield our kids from images, they're exposed to violence on a regular basis a. study of american psychological association found before the age of 18 the average child witnesses over 200,000 violent
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episodes on tv. so should we be surprised when the kids act out what they see? here to provide insight is dr. stanton saminou. doctor, how are you? >> good afternoon. i'm fine, thank you. >> so, is someone when's exposed to violence in this way that we are routinely exposed to violence of video games and television more likely to commit violence and what factors do you think determine a propensity to commit violence? >> well, i don't think that watching violence turns a responsible person in to a violent individual. what is critical is not what's on the screen or what's in the video game but what is in the mind of the viewer or the video game player. this casting about for circumstances outside the individual allegedly propel him to become something he wasn't just doesn't even make common
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sense. it doesn't square with reality. >> so, let's look at a graph that i found on healy's great blog showing america at the top there. far more violent. this is assault deaths per 100,000 people. n the nation. not necessarily just gun deaths but all sorts of violent deaths and you see through the decades there america far, far above the other nations and trending downward but we're still an outlier. america is far more violent than most of the other large nations. all the other large nations of the world. why is that? >> i'm not a soesologist. i deal with offenders. i have spent 42 years interviewing offenders of practically every demographic background and quite frankly, again, it is true that for people who commit acts of violence, they're drawn to violence, they're fascinated by
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violence. but to say that watching vie lense made them that way is a complete and total stretch. >> yeah, dr. samenow, i have to agree. it feels like we're casting blame in unguided areas and when i think about cultures of violence, i think about the 12-year-old child soldier in somalia and, you know, kids who have grown up in totalitarian regimes who are exposed to actual violence on a day-to-day basis and not our culture of video games and movies. >> well, that's right. in countries like that, people are coopted to become soldiers. they're forced to become violent. in our society, nobody is forced to become violent so it's a totally different culture. people make choices. >> and doctor, to your point, you know, i don't find either a link between video game
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consumption, for example, and rates of violent crime if we could put up the chart i was looking at earlier shows the united states as an outlier. overall in terms of violent crime but no correlation of high video game consumption and gun-related murders, this particular chart is. but so we don't see a link overall between violent content and not going to turn a normal individual in to a killer. but could it serve as a trigger for someone who was already mentally disturbed? >> well, if you're talking about copy-cat crimes, they do occur. meaning, let's say that millions of people watch a particular movie. well, most of those people, the movie is just entertainment. they don't even think about it afterwards but they wouldn't dream of enacting what they see. but if you have a person who already is fascinated by violence, and who can't get enough of it, yes, there are
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copy-cat crimes but for every person who enacts that which he sees in the movies or on television, there are millions, probably tens of millions that watch the very same show, played the very same game but for them it was just entertainment. >> yeah, doctor, i mean, i totally get that point. the vast majority of people who watch violence on television and movies won't say they do it themselves but if there's an issue of fascination of violence and this could serve as something to set them off and an inspiration for them, isn't that something we should be concerned about and try to deal with in some way or saying we have to live with that if one out of every 10 million starts to shoot places up? >> well, unless you want to start imposing censorship on a pretty wide scale, i would say, yeah, i mean we don't know who will watch a program and copy
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what he sees. but last night i went to the movies. i saw six previews. five of those previews contained very violent episodes. so what do? have no more violent movies, have no more violence in television? it is not a reasonable thing to even talk about. >> okay. dr. samenow, thank you very much. next, a key part of this we don't often like to talk about in america. mental health. our special coverage of the shooting at sandy hook continues. hi, i'm phil mickelson. i've been fortunate to win on golf's biggest stages. but when joint pain and stiffness from psoriatic arthritis hit, even the smallest things became difficult. i finally understood what serious joint pain is like. i talked to my rheumatologist and he prescribed enbrel.
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so we have discussed guns in the culture of violence on this program today and now we go to mental illness and developmental
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challenges. as much as we may want to pin newtown on a specific condition or problem, to make sense of the senseless there are no easy answers. there have been report that is adam lanza's mother told family members and friends her son had a form of autism and experts say those with asperger's are likely to be victims rather than violent himself. in high school, adam had a psychologist assigned to work with him but adam's father said he never saw any signs of violence. still to do something so awful, something went terribly wrong. mental health in america is $113 billion industry and according to experts, it is still not enough to treat all of those who need help. in the guest spot today, dr. ron steinguard, a child psychologist. i think it's so important to talk about mental health and i think we need policies that support that conversation. we have a law on the books.
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in 2007 the senate passed the nix improvement act and decides who gets guns essentially and required states to report that those adjudicated by a court to be mentally ill or a danger to themselves or others or suicidal to this nix board. i don't know that that's sufficient. it's a good start. what else can we do in terms of policy to support a better mental health system? >> you know, i think that's interesting because the way that's framed it actually connotes that mental health's the only arena that you need to be careful of vetting looking for gun control and an implication that's a group to be separated for some reason that they need special care. i think the way you framed the segment was that this is something that we don't normally like to talk about. i think was the way you started this particular segment.
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i think, unfortunately, this is the only time that we talk about this for the most part. and this is a group of individuals who are exposed to significant stigma in terms of their ability to access care let alone institutional barriers so there's a lot of work to be done across the board in terms of not only allowing people to access this type of care without the stigma attached to it, but also, promoting research that helps us to understand these disorders better and to think about creating more effective treatments for this group of individuals. >> doctor, you talk about the stigma that exists around mental illness. if your child had cancer, the world would rush in and hug you and your child. >> absolutely. >> you have mental illness, everybody's backing away and i think almost human nature to think that is weird and not way that we are -- able to help these families. how much does the stigma around
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mental illness make it difficult for people to get the treatment and support that they need? >> i actually think there's component pieces. stigma is an important part of it. if i had a child with cancer, i could talk to my friends, i could say i'm dealing with this. i could get semp think, empathy for this. if my child is seeking treatment for depression or anxiety disorder or adhd, they're controversial disorders at time and parents are unlikely to seek help and talk about it openly with their pediatricians or friends or the schools. i think it's very clear in this country we deal with disorders that occur above the neck, disorders of psychiatry behavior in a much different way and approach for disorders affecting other parts of the body and that needs to change. stigma is a significant
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component to this but there are other component pieces that get in the way of people being able to adequately and quickly access care. there are institutional barrier that is get in the way. there are probables in the fact that we really do not fund enough research to understand these disorders. create effective interventions for these problems, as well. that triad is what creates a major problem in terms of people getting access to quality and effective care. the health care reform act is largely my understanding is in part built upon a delivery system that looks towards quality and efficacy of care. we are worefully behind this in mental health and needs to be development for these well-studied, effective interventions if -- >> doctor? >> if mental health is a piece of this reform going forward. >> let's talk about one
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potential specific reform looking back across history of how we have handled people with mental illness and initially did nothing and then a reform movement in the late 19th century to create a vast system of state and mental hospitals and then a backlash against that and now some are arguing we have gone too far in terms of deinstitutionalizing, that even people crying out for help for their loved ones and know that they're a danger to themselves and to others can't get them the long-term care treatment that they need. and one stat that blew my mind is in 1955 we had 1 public psychiatric bed for every 300 americans now 1 for every 7,000 americans. do we need more long-term mental health institutions? >> you know, i've been through -- i've been around far long time and lived through
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cycles where access to care has become a critical issue for a variety of reasons. i don't think that necessarily a building more hospital beds is the answer. and what concerns me about that is that it lends itself also to this out of sight, out of mind mentally and i think helps to promote stigma, as well. we need to think about what are effective interventions for the types of problems that people are dealing with? and some people may need hospital level care but certainly people need other types of service that is are closer to their homes and closer to the communities where they live. and it's just that we don't do enough to understand or to promote studies for a lot of these things. >> okay, doctor, thank you very much. >> you're welcome. last three conversations have given us a lot to think about. we'll talk it all over straight ahead. here's images of newtown as students go back to school today.
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we continue tolerate this anymore. these tragedies must end. and to hend them, we must change. >> so we have just spent about half an hour having serious conversations about the three big topic that is are coming out of this shooting. the three areas where as the president said we're not doing enough and we will have to change. as we brought you the news, we haven't talked about this much, just ourselves over the past few days so let's take it to the table now. s.e. what are your thoughts? >> i will talk later about guns and mental health so just real quick on culture, i want to play a clip of a little movie called "bowling for columbine." >> video games. >> television.
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>> entertainment. >> satan. >> cartoons. >> guns. >> society. >> drugs. >> shock rocker marilyn manson. >> manson. >> manson. >> manson has canceled the last five dates over his u.s. tour out of respect for the those lost in littleton. but the singer says artists like himself are not the ones to blame. >> though i disagree with michael moore on just about everything including the premise of his movie, on that point, i do agree and i think we have this conversation about the culture and his whole point in this was to say, well, if we're going to blame marilyn manson who the shooters liked, why not blame bowling. they did that that morning, as well. every time this happens we try to grapple with what we can do, how to make sense of it and we go to the culture and every time we just don't come up with satisfying answers so i understand the impulse but i just want to remind people that it's not a new debate about
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violence in our culture. we have it often and usually we come up empty. >> well, and there is a tendency i think for everybody to apply their pet, pet issue to what the problem is here and mike huckabee saying it's taking god out of the schools and people want to see it through the lens but i want to say i'm glad that we are having what feels like a big conversation about important issues that have been overlooked a lot. mental health. gun control. it's -- i'm glad we're having that debate and obviously the one that's most politically fraught is gun control argument and engenders strong feelings on both sides. i have to be honest with you, at the federal level with republicans still in control of the house, i am fairly pessimistic that something is actually going to pass in the near term. there are only 15 republicans charlie cook pointed this out who are in district that is obama won so still most republicans are going to be more concerned with playing to the base and getting through their primary an appealing to a
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general election, more centrist audience, but in terms of that debate i do think strategically we need to be smart and number one, we should not talk specifically about this tragedy and what would have prevented this particular tragedy because we just can't know and we got caught up after virginia tech saying what would have prevented that shooting and a debate on both sides and caught up in the details rather than thinking big picture, what could cause an overall societial change. i think that's where we need to focus and caution democrats and gun control advocates about is that gun control in general is not popular and the idea of taking away everyone's guns, banning handguns very unpopular but the specifics are quite popular, even sometimes with gun owners, even sometimes with nra
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>> it's not talking about guns far decade not brought any of them back to the democratic fold. they're voting at the same or even increased rates for republicans. and democrats can look at it now and say we can win without them. we can win with the sort of new coalition and introduces a basic element of a political party and decides it's for something, if that becomes gun control, it puts it back on the national
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agenda, forces it in to the conversation and if that party is in position legislateively and the executive branch to act on it and democrats a couple of cycles from now and got the brady bill and the assaults weapon ban. >> i don't know how anyone can live in this culture we're in now and say that the status quo is acceptable and that's a mass killing a week and the price of freedom in america means that thousands of people, thousands of children blown away all the time and since when does americans say, oh well, we can't do anything and fix this problem? that's not american right there. i don't want to take away your guns in new hampshire or your father's guns but my father carries a handgun every day because of where his office is and afraid of getting shot every day and i want less guns so he doesn't go to work every day and fear he's going to be shot. that is critical and that's not the america that we should
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accept. >> all right. amid the tragedy of this week, we did have a moment of relief as we all learned that nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel and his crew are all free and safe. he and his crew were kidnapped thursday morning in syria. they were released late last night and richard described the harrowing ordeal this morning and from all of us at "the cycle," richard, we are so glad you're okay. >> we were with gunmen, rebels. they executed one of them on the spot. they took us to a series of safehouses and interrogation places. we weren't physically beaten or tortured. it was a lot of psychological tour which you are. threats of being killed. we were in the back of what you would think of as a minivan and as we were driving along the road, the kidnappers saw this checkpoint. started a gun fight with it, two of the kidnappers were killed. we climbed out of the vehicle
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and the rebels took us.